Bradyite’s mother gets chance to revisit past Olympic dream

Taking part in the Olympics is something that any individual will remember for a lifetime. Doing it at the age of 61 is something that most would consider impossible. For Gail McAda, the mother of Bradyite Jeff McAda, the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, brought with it the opportunity to fulfill a unfinished dream. As a teenager in Dallas, Gail McAda was an athlete. Her speciality was sprinting. By middle school, she was “out amazing” her coaches and friends who saw her run. Because women’s sports were not readily recognized back then, she ran with the boys. They tried to get her on the team, but they couldn’t figure out how to get her into their uniform and cover up the fact that she was a girl. They kept her running, and she continued to train. At the age of 16, she had a world class speed in the 100-meter dash. According to record books of the time, she was one of the fastest women in the U.S. and possibly the world. She continued to run and train with the hopes of competing in the Olympics. One very important dream, the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, would never become reality for her. At the young age of 16, she became pregnant. The decision to face the new challenge head on ended her hopes of competing in the Olympics. During the 1960 Olympic Games, Wilma Rudolf (3 gold medals) ran 11.0 seconds in the 100-meter dash for the U.S. in Rome and Armin Hary (the male gold medalist) ran 10.2 in the 100-meter dash. Her times were faster then both of them, but this became the dream that never would be and history could not rewrite itself. The Olympics came and went for Ms. McAda and Jeff, the first of five children, was born. “She was only 16 and still lived at home and because of this and four more babies to raise, she never looked back,” said Karen Ing, Ms. McAda’s daughter. “My mother wanted the baby and wished to raise him. My brother, Jeff, was that baby. I am so glad she did.” Nominees who are chosen to assist in carrying the Olympic flame to its final destination are chosen from essays submitted from persons across the nation. The theme for the essays this year for the Olympic torch bearers was “inspirational people in your life.” Nominators were allowed between 50-100 words only in which they were to convince the panel to choose them as carriers of the flame. Out of 210,000 entries submitted, only 11,500 were chosen throughout the country. The people chosen to carry the torch do not have to be athletes’former, past or present’just inspirations to someone willing to take the time to submit an entry. Karen Ing’s letter was one that was chosen. “My mother has inspired me all of my life,” said Ms. Ing. “As a disabled individual, she always taught me to stand up and believe in my dreams. In spite of it all, I did. Now it was her turn to believe in those dreams at this point/time in her life. “I wanted to give her a present that couldn’t be wrapped, so I submitted my essay in April, 2001 and hoped, never knowing, if it would be chosen. We were informed this summer that she was elected to be one of the bearers of the Olympic torch.” Two sponsors, Chevrolet and Coca-Cola, put the registrations and event together. They bought the wind suits, shirts and gloves for each bearer. The torch bearer had to purchase their own torch container/holder. The flame was lit during a ceremony in Athens, Greece. It was then relayed person to person and transported by boat, train, plane and automobile to the next destination. The flame was then brought to the originating city of the last Olympic Games where it began the 65-day journey to its final destination in Salt Lake City, Utah for the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Olympic Games. Last Wednesday, as it was carried through Texas, Ms. McAda did her part by participating as a torch carrier in the flame’s journey to Salt Lake City. On a damp and dreary day in Dallas, surrounded by friends and family, she took her turn carrying the flame of the Olympic Games. “She may not have rewritten history in 1960. She did the next best thing’she added to history,” said Ms. Ing.

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